Been a while since I reviewed a book on here and all of a sudden, three come along… The first, Chris Holm, was an author who was new to me (this has been quickly rectified as RRH is a stunning novel, and I’m going to devour his backlist), the other two are Lee Child and Carl Hiaasen – two of the biggest authors on the planet.
Red Right Hand: Chris Holm.
Red Right Hand is the second book in the Michael Hendricks series and is an explosive, fast paced thriller. It starts with a family who happen to take a ‘happy snap’ at the Golden Gate Bridge at the exact moment terrorists attack it. Caught on their video is man long thought dead. With him trapped in a circle of cops, FBI and a shady private intelligence company, and with some awful people after him, Special Agent Charlie Thompson calls on the only person who could penetrate the ring of steel and rescue the ‘dead’ man before the people he is hiding from take notice: Michael Hendricks. But Hendricks is a man with an agenda of his own and he can’t be controlled…
What follows is a thriller that never lets up. Conspiracies, murders, well-written villains, and protagonists you really root for make this a genuine page turner.
Night School: Lee Child
Night School is the 21st Jack Reacher book and is a solid entry into Lee Child’s canon. “In the morning they gave Reacher a medal, and in the afternoon they sent him back to school” is the opening sentence, and from that you’ll gather this is one of those rare Reacher books set during his military days.
An intelligence asset in Germany has overheard a snippet of conversation: ‘The American wants a hundred million dollars’ and with that the race is on to A) find out what it means, B) who the American is and C) what he’s selling for 100 million. Reacher’s night school is actually a cover for a top secret investigation as the military, the FBI and CIA try to decipher the message before it’s all too late.
Night School is more cerebral than some of the other Reacher books but is all the better for it. There is less violence than most and the result is delightful – part spy novel, part police procedural. The age it was set in – the late nineties – is fun too as Reacher and Neagley (she’s in it too) don’t have the things they rely on today. It’s all walking to the phone box, sending faxes and good old-fashioned police work.
Of course, Reacher is still Reacher but here Child has cleverly reverse engineered his character so we get glimpses of the man he was, before he became the man we ultimately grew to love.
And as always, Child asks a question in the first few pages then refuses to answer it until the last few.
Razor Girl: Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiaasen is one of my all time favourite authors. There I’ve said it. Why? I suppose it’s because, above all else, I love to laugh and there is no one more satirical or laugh-out-loud outrageous than Carl Hiaasen. Whether it’s horny dolphins, ‘gimpy’ beagles or bad monkeys ‘who may or may not have starred in the Pirates of the Caribbean films’, Hiaasen continues to delight by mixing Florida politics, satire and complete farce to form some of the funniest, hard-hitting crime novels available today.
Razor Girl is no exception. And Andrew Yancy – the arse-baring, piss-taking, restaurant inspector protagonist from Bad Monkey – makes a welcome return. Like all Hiaasen books, the plot is almost irrelevant, but briefly, Yancy finds himself involved with a woman who has an unusual way of making a living (I won’t tell you, but it involves a razor blade and a hitched skirt). Razor Girl’s eclectic cast of characters includes reality TV stars, shady agents, some (very) petty criminals, and any other number of weirdos and miscreants.
Oh, and someone wants to build on the land next to Yancy’s house, and when his view is threatened you know it isn’t going to end well…
Razor Girl is another flawless addition to a remarkable body of work. If you haven’t tried Carl Hiaasen then you really are missing out.